April 15, 2021

Etsy Allows Sellers to Profit From Child Abuse-themed Items

We at the National Center on Sexual Exploitation wish to rally support for a campaign launched by Collective Shout, our ally from Australia. Collective Shout is calling out Etsy, a popular e-commerce website, for allowing sellers to market child sex abuse dolls and other exploitation-themed products on their platform. A petition is currently being circulated that demands Etsy immediately remove these sellers’ accounts and commit to keeping all products of this nature off their site.  

Collective Shout’s investigation into Etsy has discovered numerous sellers providing sex dolls that resemble children. One seller even openly advertised the fact that their sex doll was modeled after a 14 year-old Instagram star. Posing as a potential customer, the Collective Shout team sent this seller computer-generated images of fake but realistic-looking children and asked to have a child sex abuse doll modeled after them. The seller agreed to accommodate the request. 

Caitlin Roper, Collective Shout’s Campaign Manager, explains the shocking implications of this: “Men could see a girl out in public, take a photo, and say, ‘I want a doll modeled on her’ . . . It’s a new way that [children] can be victimized and abused even without their knowledge and without their presence.”  

The concerning products on Etsy are not limited to child sex abuse dolls. There are also numerous examples of lingerie, tattoos, and t-shirts that feature slogans promoting misogyny and potentially the fetishization of incest, and which are often advertised with images of partially-exposed female genitals. Using graphic and often violent language, the slogans on these products beg “daddy” to use the wearer as a sexual object. In contemporary culture, “daddy” is sometimes used by women to refer to a sexual partner or an attractive male, and therefore may not necessarily denote a biological father. It is therefore difficult to say whether the aforementioned Etsy products are intended to promote incest. But the ambiguity is enough reason for wariness, especially when one considers the fact that advertisements for such products pop up alongside Father’s day cards, children’s books, and baby onesies when one searches the word “daddy” on Etsy. At the very least, the misogynistic language alone is certainly enough to warrant criticism of these products; women and girls are referred to as “property”, amongst an assortment of other unrepeatable terms, and are depicted as craving physical abuse and degradation.  

NCOSE commends Collective Shout for launching this campaign. We encourage you to add your voice to over 41,000 others who are calling Etsy to account by signing the petition and sharing on social media.  

.@Etsy is allowing users to sell child sex abuse dolls, some of which are modeled after real children. I signed @CollectiveShout's petition to demand that Etsy remove these sellers & keep these products off their platform! Click To Tweet “Men could see a girl out in public, take a photo, and say, ‘I want a doll modeled on her.” ~ @caitlin_roper Support our ally @Collective Shout in demanding that @Etsy stop selling child sex abuse dolls! Click To Tweet

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